What are you willing to give for the sake of the kingdom of God? Often, we begin a discussion like this with a story or a few leading thoughts. However, if we are to be serious about who we claim to be as Christians, there should be no beating around the bush. The question is not only important for each of us and our relationship with our God, but it should be important for the relationship each of us has with the entire Body of Christ. Like any good team or family, I need you to have my back, and I need to have yours. If one of us is going to lay it on the line and be all in for our faith, then we all need to be as well.
If only all the Christians of the world felt the same way. In some parts of the world, Christians are still being martyred for their faith. Others must worship underground and avoid the government-led police. Then there are those who seem to take faith for granted, and because little is asked by their friends or parish, they give nothing. It is quite a contrast of situations.
On this day, it may seem like little is being asked of you and I by God. Is that because we aren’t being asked or because we aren’t listening? If you are counting on me and I am on you, we should figure this out sooner than later. Of course, I suspect we actually do know the answer, don’t we?
— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS
PLEASE CONSIDER ONLINE GIVING
WHY DO WE DO THAT?
Candles have been part of the Church’s worship from the earliest times. In the days before electricity, candles and oil lamps were the ways that people lighted buildings. Even today, we often still depend on candles during power outages, relying on their flickering flames to bring light into the dark.
Like our ancestors, we also light candles on special occasions. Think about a festive family meal or a romantic dinner for two — there will often be candles on the table, special objects for a special event. We light candles on birthday cakes and carry them in processions. We also place candles at makeshift memorials that appear when there has been an accident or act of violence. In these moments, their light casts aside a different kind of darkness — the darkness of grief, fear, and death.
The custom of the early Christians lighting candles and lamps at the tombs of the martyrs gave way to the practice of having candles at Mass, honoring the sacredness of the celebration.
As Christians decorated their worship spaces with statues and icons, they would burn candles in front of sacred images and the relics of the saints, basically “shining a light” on what they held to be sacred. When pilgrims would visit these shrines, they would often bring candles to light before the image or relic. These candles came to be a symbol of the person, and their prayer and the burning these candles came to be understood as an extension and continuation of the prayer that was offered. What began as a practical way to provide light has come to be a symbol of the hopes, desires, loves, losses, fears, and faith of everyday Christians offering their prayers to God and his saints.
SUNDAY, JULY 26, 2020 | 17th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME